Miami Marlins ace and reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara will not pitch again this season, he confirmed Saturday (per the Miami Herald). Alcantara has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and has been shut down after experiencing forearm tightness during a Triple-A rehab start earlier this week.
"It's very frustrating for me, a guy like me who always likes to go out and compete," Alcantara told the Miami Herald. "I feel sorry about the fans, my family, my son, my friends, the city because I want to be out there this year. Hopefully, I've got to be ready for next year. I don't know. I've just got to keep positive."
Alcantara was placed on the injured list on Sept. 6 with what the Marlins initially called a right forearm flexor strain. He struck out four in four shutout innings during his Triple-A start Thursday, though he did not feel right afterward, and returned to Miami for evaluation.
The UCL is the Tommy John surgery ligament and flexor strains and forearm tightness are common symptoms of elbow trouble. The Marlins and Alcantara are in the process of determining the next options, though his season is over. Tommy John surgery (or the alternate internal brace procedure) would wipe out his 2024 season as well.
"I don't know yet," Alcantara told the Miami Herald about the next steps. "We've got to get together, have a conversation. I don't know how long but we have to talk about decisions that we have to make. I don't know if we have to decide about surgery or not. We just have to get together."
Needless to say, losing Alcantara for any length of time is a devastating blow to a Marlins team that is in the thick of the wild-card race. They enter play Saturday one game behind the Chicago Cubs for the third wild-card spot, though the Cincinnati Reds are only a half-game behind Miami. .
Alcantara, 28, is the game's preeminent workhorse. He led baseball in innings (228 2/3) and batters faced (886) en route to winning the Cy Young last season, and although he has not been as effective this year as last, Alcantara did give his team 184 2/3 innings with a 4.14 ERA before getting hurt.
Miami has used a series of openers and bullpen games to replace Alcantara since he landed on the injured list.